The Genetics of AMD in African-Americans

Jonathan Haines, PhD Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Co-Principal Investigators

Anita L Agarwal, MD Vanderbilt University


The primary goal of this project is ascertain at least 100 African-American individuals with age-related macular degeneration and 100 African-American unrelated controls. We will use multiple modalities to identify and enroll these individuals. We will then test this dataset for known genetic risk factors to determine if these effects generalize in the African-American population.

Project Details

Many of the risk genes for age‐related macular degeneration (AMD) were discovered by looking at DNA samples from Caucasian (white with European ancestry) subjects. Drs. Jonathan Haines, Anita Agarwal, and collaborators will look for new risk genes by comparing the “spelling” of the DNA of African‐Americans with AMD to the DNA from unrelated African‐Americans without AMD. If this group discovers new risk genes, then it may imply that AMD starts and/or progresses in African‐Americans in a different way than it does for other ethnicities. However, the identity of the genes from this study may give ideas for new types of preventions and treatments for everyone diagnosed with AMD.